- a considerable amount or quantity; many: Numbers flocked to the city to see the parade.
- metrical feet; verse.
- musical periods, measures, or groups of notes.
- numbers pool(def 1).
- Informal. the figures representing the actual cost, expense, profit, etc.: We won't make a decision until we see the numbers.
- Obsolete. arithmetic.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- number cruncher,
- number crunching,
- number eight wire,
- number is up, one's,
- number line
- according to standard procedure, rules, customs, etc.; orthodoxly; by the book: We're going to run things here by the numbers.
- together or in unison to a called-out count: calisthenics by the numbers.
- to undermine, defeat, humiliate, or criticize thoroughly: The committee really did a number on the mayor's proposal.
- to discuss or discourse about, especially in an entertaining way: She could do a number on anything from dentistry to the Bomb.
- to give a performance; perform: It's time for you to get on stage and do your number.
- Slang. to behave in a predictable or customary manner: Whenever I call, he does his number about being too busy to talk.
- one is (was, will be) in serious trouble.
- one is (was, will be) on the point of death: Convinced that her number was up anyway, she refused to see doctors.
Origin of number
adjective, numb·er, numb·est.
verb (used with object)
Origin of numb
Examples from the Web for number
“Our members continue to face a number of challenges,” she said.
The number of dissenters though is unprecedented in the modern era.Democrats Accidentally Save Boehner From Republican Coup|Ben Jacobs, Jackie Kucinich|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Starting under Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft, embassies headed by career diplomats increased in number.
The number of diplomats was pitiful (45 appointees in 1860), as was the amount of money allocated to them.
Jett sees this number as a marker of how much the president allows professionals to do the job.
She composed a number of sacred legendae, in leonine or rhymed hexameters.The Mediaeval Mind (Volume I of II)|Henry Osborn Taylor
The other two classes in this department include quite a number of our young married people.Seven Graded Sunday Schools|Various
I confess I was almost startled on seeing them with a number of brilliant looking snakes.On the Banks of the Amazon|W.H.G. Kingston
In 1856 the number of young persons committed for indictable offences was 14,000.Social Transformations of the Victorian Age|T. H. S. (Thomas Hay Sweet) Escott
It is fully calculated by the packers that this number will be exceeded ten per cent in the ensuing year.
- a self-contained piece of pop or jazz music
- a self-contained part of an opera or other musical score, esp one for the stage
verb (mainly tr)
Word Origin for number
Word Origin for numb
c.1300, "sum, aggregate of a collection," from Anglo-French noumbre, Old French nombre and directly from Latin numerus "a number, quantity," from PIE root *nem- "to divide, distribute, allot" (related to Greek nemein "to deal out;" see nemesis). Meaning "symbol or figure of arithmatic value" is from late 14c. Meaning "single (numbered) issue of a magazine" is from 1795. The meaning "musical selection" (1885) is from vaudeville theater programs, where acts were marked by a number. Meaning "dialing combination to reach a particular telephone receiver" is from 1879; hence wrong number (1886).
Number one "oneself" is from 1704 (mock-Italian form numero uno attested from 1973); the biblical Book of Numbers (c.1400, Latin Numeri, Greek Arithmoi) so called because it begins with a census of the Israelites. Slang number one and number two for "urination" and "defecation" attested from 1902. Number cruncher is 1966, of machines; 1971, of persons. To get or have (someone's) number "have someone figured out" is attested from 1853. The numbers "illegal lottery" is from 1897, American English.
c.1300, "to count," from Old French nombrer "to count, reckon," from nombre (n.) "number" (see number (n.)). Meaning "to assign a number to" is late 14c.; that of "to ascertain the number of" is from early 15c. Related: Numbered; numbering.
1550s, from numb (adj.). Related: Numbed; numbing.
c.1400, nome, "deprived of motion or feeling," literally "taken, seized," from past participle of nimen "to take, seize," from Old English niman "to take, catch, grasp" (see nimble). The extraneous -b (to conform to comb, limb, etc.) appeared 17c. The notion is of being "taken" with palsy, shock, and especially cold. Figurative use from 1560s.
In addition to the idiom beginning with number
- number is up, one's
- a number of
- any number of
- back number
- by the numbers
- crunch numbers
- days are numbered
- do a job (number) on
- get (have) someone's number
- hot number
- in round numbers
- look out for (number one)
- opposite number
- safety in numbers